It was an all too familiar story that is never less frustrating to hear. We were only 15 minutes into the saga of my good friend Emma’s (names changed to protect the innocent…) interview, and I already wanted to scream.
“I was there for five hours! F.I.V.E. And just as I’m walking out the door, they tell me I need to come back and to meet Bob. Who the #$%& is Bob and why wasn’t he here today?! I was here today. All day! These people know I work, right?! I’m going to have to get more time off…”
A couple weeks ago, Emma was over the moon for this opportunity. But like witnessing a slow and painful death, I watched this company kill her enthusiasm for having any part of its team. I realize I am a bit biased, but Emma is a catch! She has a skill set that will make your head spin, and the moment you meet her you know she will run circles around any goal set before her.
I knew these people wanted Emma, but they blew it. Adding insult to injury, they probably meant nothing malicious by it, and were completely unaware that their hiring process left such a poor impression.
How as an employer do you stay in good graces with candidates?
Communicate clearly, and often. Radio silence or slow responses are nerve-wracking for your applicants. Before you start the interview process, be sure to set a schedule so you may be transparent with candidates about when they will hear from you and can expect decisions. You will want them to be responsive to you, so extending the same courtesy is only fair.
Keep it conversational. So often, interviews become interrogations where, at any moment, you expect someone to strap you in for a polygraph. Yes, some employers may need to use these tactics (Navy SEALS come to mind…), but for the rest of us, this approach is unnecessary and will probably not draw out your candidate’s best self. Try prompting your applicant to share stories about work experiences – let them paint you a vivid picture about how they will fit in your world. Try telling them how you fell in love with your company, and why they will want to be a part of it. Making the interview a dialogue over rapid fire will draw out your candidate’s genuine self, and, trust us, that’s the good stuff.
Respect their time. We have all been there – feigning illness or faking a parent-teacher conference so you can scuttle off to a job interview. Your candidate is likely taking a small risk to spend time with you, so make sure it counts. If you want certain team members or decision makers in the room, then be sure they are in the room. Extend the same courtesy you would expect in return with someone requesting time in your busy day.
You are looking for the right fit, so it makes sense to start the relationship on the right foot. In the end, spending the time and energy on making your applicant feel welcome and wanted will be well worth the extra effort.
Work hard, be kind, stay humble, and you’ll be sure to give the right impression.
If you have any questions about the hiring process or how you can help your candidates feel at home, feel free to reach out to our team!